Cuba reforms housing system to combat home shortage

To tackle a severe housing shortage, the Cuban government has plans to sell off unused plots of state land for people to build their own homes.

In the first overhaul of the country’s housing law in a quarter of a century, authorities are also making it easier for individuals to obtain permission to renovate existing homes and to use private, rather than state, builders. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reports.

According to the most recent official figures, an additional 700,000 homes are needed across the island, while many existing ones are overcrowded and in urgent need of repair.

The government set a target of building up to 100,000 new homes a year. However, the big state-owned construction companies only managed to complete around 15,000 last year, the lowest number in a decade.

The government has decided if it is to tackle the housing crisis, it needs to pass more responsibility on to the private sector. Under recent economic reforms, tradesmen like builders, plumbers, and electricians were allowed to become self-employed.

The government is also cutting bureaucracy, making it easier to obtain building permits. Starting next year, it will also begin selling off unused state-owned plots of land to residents who want to build their own homes.

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